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  1. #1
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    Default I hate New Jersey

    The Law: Can Atheists Be Parents? - TIME

    After six years of childless marriage, John and Cynthia Burke of Newark decided to adopt a baby boy through a state agency. Since the Burkes were young, scandal-free and solvent, they had no trouble with the New Jersey Bureau of Children's Services—until investigators came to the line on the application that asked for the couple's religious affiliation.

    John Burke, an atheist, and his wife, a pantheist, had left the line blank. As a result, the bureau denied the Burkes' application. After the couple began court action, however, the bureau changed its regulations, and the couple was able to adopt a baby boy from the Children's Aid and Adoption Society in East Orange.

    Last year the Burkes presented their adopted son, David, now 31, with a baby sister, Eleanor Katherine, now 17 months, whom they acquired from the same East Orange agency. Since the agency endorsed the adoption, the required final approval by a judge was expected to be pro forma. Instead, Superior Court Judge William Camarata raised the religious issue.

    Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being."

    The Burkes are now living in Carterville, Ill., near Southern Illinois University, where John Burke has worked for the past year as a speech pathologist. Nevertheless, Judge Camarata ordered the parents to send David's sister back to the New Jersey adoption agency. Two weeks ago, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Burkes appealed directly to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. If they fail in their appeal, Eleanor Katherine may have to leave the only family she has ever known and await adoption by another couple whose religious convictions satisfy the State of New Jersey.
    Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.

  2. #2
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    "New Jersey exists so that Philadelphia is a not a seedy beach community." - pure_mercury, 2009
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #3
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    This was in 1970. (The Burkes won their case in 1971.)

  4. #4
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colors View Post
    This was in 1970. (The Burkes won their case in 1971.)
    Read the third paragraph of the article I posted, por favor.
    Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.

  5. #5
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Read the third paragraph of the article I posted, por favor.
    ...what about it?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  6. #6

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    I love New Jersey, but this sucks ass. That judge's faulty line of reasoning would also preclude any religious parents from adopting. If the parental influence over religious matters is as burdensome as the judge suggests, then the imposition of the parents' particular faith would be just as much an obstacle as atheism to the child's exploration of other faiths and the pursuit of their own beliefs. Bad interpretation of the law.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

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  7. #7
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    ...what about it?
    Read the article, then read Colors' comment, and then reread paragraph 3.

    ...ffs
    Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.

  8. #8
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Read the article, then read Colors' comment, and then reread paragraph 3.

    ...ffs
    I don't see how it's contradictory. The article itself is dated Dec. 1970.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  9. #9
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Just spent a night in New Jersey, and was talking to my friend on the way back about why the hell there's so much New Jersey pride. You can make fun of CT and I'll join in, but make fun of New Jersey and they freak out. Nothing special.

    But yes, this is a dumb ruling for the reasons that Effem stated. Any belief held by parents would be an obstacle to the child. Silly ruling.



  10. #10
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I don't see how it's contradictory. The article itself is dated Dec. 1970.
    Yeah, it seems the original adoption must have been back in the forties. It still sucks for 1970, but there's no reason to hold that against New Jersey now...

    ...especially when we have their bizarre manifestations of endemic political corruption to hold over their heads, instead.

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